Monday, September 17, 2012

my hood: The Upper West Side (81st & Amsterdam)

The Upper West Side (UWS) is a beautiful neighborhood in Manhattan that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River, above 59th Street. Originally, the northern boundary of the Upper West Side was 110th Street (at the very top of Central Park), but nowadays many New Yorkers consider the Upper West Side to go as far north as 125th Street, covering parts of Morningside Heights, Harlem, and Columbia University’s campus. The neighborhood is known for being primarily a residential and commercial area, but it certainly has its fair share of fascinating history, beautiful parks, and iconic pop culture.

Originally called the "Bloomingdale District," the neighborhood used to contain the farms and country houses of New York’s wealthy. However, development of the area was at a stand-still for decades, even when Central Park was being laid out in the 1860’s and 70’s. It wasn’t until the 9th Avenue elevated train extended uptown and Columbia University relocated to the area that the neighborhood began to change. The Upper West Side experienced a building boom from 1885-1910 and New York’s first subway, which ran straight through the Upper West Side, was opened in 1904.

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